Kitchen Planning Guide – Get Your Remodel Off to the Right Start
- August 8, 2014
A kitchen remodel is in your future. You have planned this moment for years, and it is finally here. Despite knowing exactly what you want, planning is important. Granite countertops, solid wood cabinets, and that six-burner gas range you’ve always dreamed of aren’t going to magically appear. You have to create a plan that works – one that helps contractors, designers, and you to clearly communicate. The result of a careful plan is the kitchen you’ve been waiting for, so get started. Use the tips in this article to make sure it turns out right.
Find a Designer Who Studied Architecture
You heard us.
The kitchen is one of the most complex spaces to remodel in your home. Regardless of the size or shape, a designer can help you maximize the storage, while delivering the feel that you crave. You may have your materials picked out and your layout in mind, but trust us – a designer who knows their stuff can take your ideas and make them better than you ever dreamed.
Wondering why we specified the background in architecture? Kitchens are small. Regardless of the size of your home, chances are that you would wish for a larger kitchen. That’s where an architect’s eye for utilizing space comes in handy. A designer who also studied architecture can take a look at your space and think about the square feet underneath the drywall – how the space can be increased without damaging the structure, and how you can get the most use out of the existing surface area.
Hiring a designer isn’t always cheap, but it’s a smart investment. Before you start picking out the perfect slabs for your granite countertops, get the input of a pro. Bonus tip – many designers have contacts who will offer lower prices on countertop materials, cabinets, and other components to the designer’s customers. Inquire about this from the get-go. You may be able to recoup your costs for the designer in the savings you gain on materials.
Don’t Forget Infrastructure
Many homeowners are greeted with the nasty surprise of wiring that doesn’t meet code, outdated plumbing, or rotting studs underneath their old kitchen’s cabinets and in its walls. Be prepared, and set aside a budget to completely redo the electricity and plumbing, as well as tackle any structural repairs. If they don’t need done, you’ve got a cushion to work with for the rest of the remodel. On the off chance that they do need replaced, you aren’t taken by surprise.
Your Home Is NOT A Magazine
When you plan your remodel, don’t get carried away looking at design magazines with the latest in everything. Your home is not a magazine, and if you treat it like one you’ll be sorry. You need a kitchen that works for your family. Sure, a high end granite countertop offers both form and function, but that wine fridge probably isn’t a great pick while your three year old is still obsessed with opening every door she encounters. Be practical. Choose a layout and a few bonus features that match your reality, not your fantasies.
Budget, Budget, BUDGET
Remodels are full of unexpected twists and turns. From hidden electrical problems to changing your mind when you encounter something new and exciting, costs can quickly double, or even triple. Make a realistic budget, add a buffer of a few thousand dollars, and then stick to it. If you’re working with an architect, engineer, or designer who doesn’t know how to stay within the budget you set, make it clear to them that they either follow it or you will find someone new.
Kitchen remodels are expensive and the extras aren’t always worth it. Don’t aim for new, either. If you can upcycle, do it. Find the perfect fridge secondhand. Look for reclaimed materials suppliers. There are ways to save money without cutting corners. If your budget is tight, find them and use them. Whenever possible, chip in on the actual work – use your available skill sets to cut back on labor costs. You’ll be glad you did when you’re sitting in the kitchen of your dreams, and can brag about the work you did to make it wonderful.
A kitchen remodel is a major undertaking. It takes a significant investment in terms of time, money, and finding the right team of professionals to work with. Make certain to allow enough time and set aside a large enough budget to accomplish your goals in the kitchen remodel. If you have your heart set on a few features, like a granite countertop or solid wood cabinets, maybe even stainless steel appliances, take care of these elements first. If you can’t afford the rest from the get-go, save up for another remodel in the future. Persistence and planning will help you build the kitchen you’ve longed for.